D'banj during his performance
D’banj during his performance

*Disowns music star as N-Power Brand Ambassador

*Says there is breach in programme’s payment process

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA–THE Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,has admitted large scale financial irregularities in the N-Power Programme.

This came as it called on members of the public to come forward with information on any irregularities noticed in the implementation of the National Social Investment programmne.

The ministry said the arrest of popular Nigerian musician, D’banj, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission,ICPC,was at its instance, having discovered financial irregularities in the scheme.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry,Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, addressing a press conference on Wednesday night,in Abuja,said given its findings,many people it engaged in the scheme may also be guests of the nation’s anti-corruption agency.

A prepared text issued to newsmen at the event,read:”The N-Power Programme is a very successful component of the National Social Investment Programmme put in place by the Federal Government. It has continued to deliver desired impact through the on-boarding 1.5million Unemployed Nigerian youth (mostly graduates), providing capacity building, targeted tenured employment and structured off-boarding unto various career paths; thereby serving as a catalyst conveyor system for unemployed/under-employed Nigerian youth to successful career paths and a stimulus for the Nigerian Economy.

” The Ministry’s attention has been brought to recent publications regarding ongoing investigations in relation to fraud allegations in the Programme. We wish to here state as follows;

” The Ministry has deployed a well-rounded mechanism for selection of eligible beneficiaries from across the country and this has been in place since the inception of the program. Working with our Service Provider, Program Beneficiaries are onboarded, trained and deployed to pre-selected Places of Primary Assignment.

“When it came to our notice that there may have been sharp practices by some personnel of the Payment Service Provider (PSP) involved in the payment processes of beneficiaries, the matter was immediately referred to ICPC for thorough investigation. We are aware that certain persons have consequently been invited for interrogation as part of the ongoing investigations.

” In the meantime, we have carried out thorough reinforcement of our systems to eliminate all anomalies and prevent similar occurrences in the future. To this end we are in close collaboration with ICPC to support the successful determination of the investigation.

“The public may wish to note that in a bid to ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of N-Power and other National Social Investment Programmes, namely the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme(NHGSFP), Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP)and the Conditional Cash Transfer(CCT), the Ministry has over time involved other government MDA’s, Security Agencies and Civil Society Organizations in monitoring and compliance checks across the 36 states of the country and the FCT.

“We want to assure all N-POWER beneficiaries of Federal Government’s continued commitment to the programme and the subsequent exit/off-boarding channels activated.

” All program beneficiaries should therefore continue to apply themselves to their utmost at their Places of Primary Assignment. All monthly stipends will continue to be paid in line with program expectations.

“We call on members of the public to come forward with information on any irregularities noticed in the implementation of the National Social Investment programmne through the following channels;Email: [email protected][email protected]

“Phone: 0700 CALL NSIP, 070022556747 or 07030859183- Whatsapp.”

Meanwhile,the ministry said contrary to insinuations in some quarters, D’banj was not the brand ambassador of the N-Power programme.

The permanent secretary said so far, nobody had been named or recognized as the programme’s brand ambassador.

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